What is DevOps? A Comprehensive Guide For Beginners [2020]

Traditionally, the code deployment time in a software development cycle, after the completion of the development code, used to be very important. You may have heard a lot of time about all the arguments that used to happen between the development and operations team at this crucial time. The deployment team would say that it is working alright on their system and it’s the server where the actual problem lies.

And then you would see the operations team coming up with defenses, and then shifting the blame on the development team or their code. This used to happen on a regular basis between different teams involved in different capacities in product development. DevOps plays the ‘peacemaker” sorts between the development and operations team by breaking the wall of confusion and ensuring continuous collaboration.

Learn more: What does a DevOps developer do?

What is DevOps?

DevOps is nothing but a set of cultural practices, philosophies, and tools that help n organization to deliver applications and services faster than usual and improve and evolve their products at a much brisker pace than software development organizations that are still stuck with traditional infrastructure management processes. This ability to work at speed allows organizations to develop a much-needed competitive edge and at the same time, serve their customers in a better way. 

Not all the concepts and practices used in DevOps are new. It’s a mix of old and new practices that have readily spread their wings across the global business world and technical community. It’s still quite a new term, so it’s highly likely that people may confuse it with other concepts or hold contradictory impressions of what exactly it means and how it helps them. Like Agile, DevOps is a concept that requires some background knowledge to be fully understood.

It is a term that has emerged out of the coming together of two related concepts. One of these concepts is agile operations or agile infrastructure. Agile operation is a concept that involves the application of Lean and Agile methodologies to operations. The second concept is a much broader one and involves a thorough understanding of how collaboration between development and operations teams through the software development lifecycle brings value.

DevOps could be understood as an extension of Agile, which proposes the collaboration of developers, product managers, QA, and customers to overcome the challenges and ensure the rapid development of a better product. DevOps proposes something very similar but also makes app and systems interaction as well as service delivery central to the creation of value for the clients. If we consider this connection, we will find that DevOps simply involves the extension of Agile principles beyond the limitations and boundaries. 

Read: DevOps Architecture Tutorial

History of DevOps

The origination of DevOps happened in 2007 and 2008 when certain communities belonging to software development and IT operation started to get vocal about a critical dysfunction in the industry. They objected to the traditional product development model and asked for people who are involved in writing the code and those that support and deploy the code to be apart from each other, both organizationally and functionally. 

Back then, development and ops professionals used to have separate yet competing goals, different key performance indicators or KPIs and separated leadership that they reported to. They used to occupy completely separate spaces in a building, or even had to work from the separate building altogether. This has resulted in the creation of siloed teams that were only bothered with their own territory of operation. The consequences were substandard releases and unhappy customers. 

Well, there came a point when they thought that it can’t get any worse and there must be a better way of doing things. This made the two communities come together and start discussing the steps that should be taken to get out of this mess. Gene Kim, John Willis, and Patrick Dubois drove this movement. 

What started with local conversations and online forums is now one of the primary trends that are driving the software development in the right direction. If you are too feeling the pain that results from broken lines of communication and siloed teams, you probably know that DevOps is the answer.

You are just not sure, how? However, you need to understand that DevOps or for that matter any other practice or methodology won’t cast a magic spell and transform everything overnight. It’s a step by step approach that guarantees results if done properly. You need to understand how it works and what value it can bring for your company before embarking on the DevOps journey. 

Read: How to Become a DevOps Engineer?

What’s in it for you?

1. Trust and collaboration

DevOps creates a culture of trust and collaboration between different teams and that is its biggest success factor. When teams share faster feedback, transparency, and responsibility, nothing can stop them from achieving their shared objectives. Teams that work separately don’t share this thinking or approach. They are happy in their own space, doing what they are supposed. No one is ready to take initiatives or collaborate with each other for better outcomes.

Teams don’t work on shared objectives often give rise to issues that shouldn’t exist at all – finger-pointing, lack of dependency, and misaligned priorities. All these issues combine and lead to slower delivery and substandard quality. DevOps brings about a change in the mindset and enables teams to break down the barriers that exist between them to start looking at development in a completely new light. 

2. Speed-up issue resolution

Teams that have share feedback and work on it faster are the teams that thrive the most. Customer satisfaction is built on how quickly you can resolve critical issues. If teams don’t communicate properly, important issues are likely to slip through the gaps and result in uncalled for tension and arguments between teams.

DevOps teams work in an environment of seamless communication and complete transparency, which allows them to reduce downtimes and come up with resolutions to issues at a much faster pace than before.

3. Manage unplanned work

Most teams face the consequences of not being able to manage unplanned work. This has a direct impact on a team’s productivity. DevOps ensures clear prioritization of work, allowing teams to manage their unplanned work in a better way while not letting them to lose focus on their planned work.  

Conclusion

Moving to DevOps is in no sense the destination, it’s instead a journey. It is fundamentally changing how the two most important teams involved in the development cycle function. By using DevOps, you will be able to bring speed, scale, and security into your software development processes. At the same time, you will be able to ensure compliance and reduce risks, costs, and friction. 

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